Last week, on a beautiful 60 degree day, I took Odin to the beach. I think it may have been his first time at the ocean, because he came from Nevada. He didn’t seem to care about the waves one way or another, but he was very interested in the seagulls. We’ve had him for about 6 weeks now, and overall he is a very sweet dog, who settled into the pack amazingly well. Even if he does like to put everything in his mouth. I don’t often come to this part of the beach, probably because the state park is so close, but this time I wanted to take photos of one of the fishing piers. I could not have asked for a better day. The light was beautiful, the golden hour, just before sunset. And it was warm, about 60 degrees.
Even after 10 years in the south, it still amazes me to see the beach empty when we get a 60 degree day in January. When I lived outside of Boston I would have seen more people walking the beach if the temperature was only 25. It was nice not to have to wait for people to get out of my pictures though, and it was easy to find parking.
I get ridiculously excited about snow. At least I do now that I don’t have to shovel it. Or worry about the train being delayed and making me late. Here in Coastal North Carolina we don’t get snow very often, and this is the first time I’ve seen actual accumulation in the four and a half years we’ve lived here. Usually its less than an inch, and it melts quickly. In this storm we got about 3 inches, and it has started to melt, but its mostly stayed around for several days. Its been really nice taking the dogs for walks in the snowy woods, a change of scenery without leaving my property. And of course working from home means I don’t have to travel around on the dangerous roads. Of course, I did stock up on beer and cookies before the storm hit. That left me free to roam around the yard in my pajamas at 7:00 am to take pictures because I was afraid it would all melt.
I was hoping for some ice. We got some a few years ago, and it was really pretty. We didn’t get much ice this time, but there was enough to create these beautiful crystal covered branches.
This is a yaupon holly, a native plant that was used to make a caffeinated tea. There are several of them growing wild around our property. I love the bright red berries in the brown winter landscape, and I frequently bring branches into the house for decoration, but I think they look extra pretty with this light dusting of snow.How is your winter going? Do you love or hate snow?
Fort Macon State Park, NC, October 2014
Blue Ridge Mountains, NC, October 2016
I might not be able to take pictures of fall foliage quite yet, but I did get to climb a lighthouse this weekend, on the Cape Lookout National Seashore.
The lighthouse and keeper’s residence.
It was 207 steps to reach the top, and my legs definitely felt it, but this amazing view was worth the effort! Seeing the Outer Banks from this vantage point makes you realize that the islands really are just a narrow strip of land, an overgrown sandbar really, less than half a mile wide in most places.
Looking North along the South Core Banks. Looking East towards the Beach and the Atlantic Ocean.There is no bridge to this part of the Outer Banks, so you have to take a boat to get there. Not only is it a beautiful ride, but also it makes the islands pretty empty. You might have to hike a little, but even on a “busy” day you can find a patch of solitude.
Shackleford Banks, viewed from the ferry, not the top of the lighthouse.
If you follow my instagram, or have read my posts about my 2017 goals and progress, then you will know I’ve been hiking on the Neusiok Trail during the last month. The trail is about 22 miles long, and can be done in one long hike, or several shorter day hikes. I’ve chosen to do it as several shorter hikes. I just don’t feel the need to sleep on the ground when my bed is only 30 minutes away. This means I will actually hike the trail twice, as each day I am hiking out for several miles, and then back to where ever I left my car. So far I’ve hiked about a quarter of the trail, split up over 2 days, for a total of about 13 miles.
Two trees have grown together.
On the trail. There are definitely drawbacks to working for myself. But days like today, when I can take several hours in the middle of the week and have the forest to myself are so worth it.
An osprey nest on the banks of the Neuse River.
Interesting bit of wood.
One of many boardwalks over swampy areas. Lots of swampy areas, glad I was wearing my hiking boots.
As you can see, I did some hiking this month, mostly on the Neusiok Trail. I’ll do some more on that in a separate post.
I’ve been working on a new sock pattern, I’m almost done knitting them so I can write and post the pattern to ravelry, hopefully by the end of this week.
Lots of pictures of my dogs. Panzer had his semi annual vet appointment this week hes doing really well. The vet told us he wishes all 10 year olds he see were this healthy. I think its because the younger dogs keep him active and playful. And we actually walk our dogs everyday, I’m convinced thats the reason my husky lived to be 16 and was pretty healthy for all but his last 6 months.
We did lose a chicken. When they were out in the yard a hawk killed one. So the ladies have been stuck in there coop for the last few weeks. I’ll start letting them out again in the spring, when there is more food around and the ladies wont be such a target.
Towards the end of the month my bulbs started flowering. I’ve been really missing winter, probably because I see everyone’s pretty snowy pics on instagram, but I’m over it and so glad spring is here!
This is a photo I took in October 2015, at Hanging Rock State Park, here in North Carolina. I had a great day, taking a few short hikes with Panzer and Sasha, but I wasn’t very happy with my photos. I had intended to photograph the waterfalls surrounded by autumn foliage, but nature just wasn’t cooperating. The leaves were not at peak color yet and I’m not sure if it would have made much of a difference anyways, the rhodadendrons around the falls would have stayed green. But I was so proud of myself for using a long exposure to give the water that beautiful gauzy effect. And its a very pretty waterfall and I was happy with the compostition, just not the colors. It took me over a year to settle on the obvious solution, change it to black and white. And now I love it!
I’m not sure “Hidden Falls” is the best name for this waterfall. There is a very clearly marked, relatively easy trail from the parking lot to the river.
One of my favorite places to walk locally is alone the waterfront in Beaufort, the next town over, and through this old cemetery. Its all overgrown with amazing live oaks, and mosses, lichens, and even a few ferns on the old weathered headstones.
Still on my black and white kick. I loved this tree covered in vines.
Sometimes, I just need to spend a few hours in nature. One nearby place I like to walk occasionally is the Patsy Pond trail, in the Croatan National Forest. Unlike much of the forest, which is swampy, the ground here is sandy, and covered in grasses and small shrubs between the towering long leaf pines. It gets pretty crowded on weekends, but on this beautiful, 55 degree weekday, I had it mostly to myself. It was incredibly peaceful.
Interesting dead winter flowers and grasses.
A reflection on the calm, quiet pond.
And of course, I had one of my dogs with me. I try to spend alone time with each of them so they don’t feel left out, and this day was Otto’s turn. We adopted him less than 2 months ago, and he is fitting into the family nicely. Even if he is alot of work.